Podcast: Neil Rogachevsky on the Roots of Israel's Political Crisis and How to Fix It

As the nation gears up for its third election in a year, the time may have come to consider a different way of voting.

Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

Observation
Jan. 16 2020
About the authors

A weekly podcast, produced in partnership with the Tikvah Fund, offering up the best thinking on Jewish thought and culture.

Neil Rogachevsky teaches at the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University.


This Week’s Guest: Neil Rogachevsky

 

Israel’s electoral politics are a mess. One election last April failed to produce a governing coalition; so did a second one in the fall. Now Israelis are scheduled to head back to the polls in March for the third time in a single year. Israel has faced many problems in its short history, but this kind of political crisis is a first.

And yet its seeds may have been planted at the founding of the state.

Since its very first election, Israel has chosen leaders through a system of proportional representation. That is, Israelis vote for parties rather than for individual candidates as in, say, the United States. From there, seats are distributed in the 120-member Knesset in proportion to the share of the vote each party wins. The system is simple and democratic, but, argues Neil Rogachevsky in a recent article in Tablet, it is also the source of Israel’s political instability and its recent electoral chaos.

In this podcast, Rogachevsky joins Jonathan Silver to discuss his argument and make the case for reforming Israel’s electoral system. He explains why proportional-representation systems routinely fail to produce political stability, how they make lawmakers less accountable to the public, and why a “first-past-the-post” system would make Israeli politics healthier and more representative.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble, as well as “We Are Your Friends” by Mocha Music.

Background

 

For more on the Tikvah Podcast at Mosaic, which appears roughly every Thursday, check out its inaugural post here.

If you have thoughts about the podcast that you’d like to share, ideas for future guests and topics, or any other form of feedback, just send an email to editors@mosaicmagazine.com.

Get unlimited access to Mosaic: Subscribe now

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories FREE.

Register Now

Get unlimited access to Mosaic: Subscribe now

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories FREE.

Register Now

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Election 2019, Israeli Election 2020